What If?

“I don’t believe you; I don’t care; it’s your own fault anyway; GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!” I grew up hurting, yet no one even knew.

My father passed away when I was young; I have cried so many tears over my dad, I’m ashamed to admit the tears have come out of selfishness not out of grief. You see, when my dad passed away my life became dangerous, neglectful and full of so much pain. I cry because I wanted the childhood my father planned for me, I cry because he was the first person to ever believe in me, I cry because what if he hadn’t passed away - how different would my life be right now?

I should introduce myself, I am the person whom is constantly asked “why don’t you talk to your mum? You have to talk to your mum, she’s your mum, you must love her – she gave birth to you for crying out loud!” I’m going to be crystal clear for everyone who is going through the same thing, for the people who don’t understand and for the people who think I should allow my mother in my life: how dare you try and tell me I am in the wrong, how dare you sit there and judge me and tell me what you think is best for me, I made the healthiest decision ever at the age of 18 by ceasing all contact with my mother and step-father, you do not have any right to comment on my life if you haven’t walked my same path. I don’t want to talk to them, I don’t want them in my life and I am much happier without them.

At this point, you are probably wondering why I don’t talk to my mum and step-dad, well it’s really simple: they’re very toxic people.

"I grew up to my mother and step father physically, verbally and emotionally

abusing me"

I grew up to my mother and step father physically, verbally and emotionally abusing me. They have only ever cared about themselves; putting alcohol, cigarettes and the pub before their children; leaving me to single-handedly take care of my younger sister when I was just a child myself. To summarise who they are, my step-father is a raging, short tempered, smacking-happy, foul-mouthed alcoholic. My mother is a manipulative, abusive, thieving, sociopathic, coercive bitch.

My mother had an incredible gift of making people believe she was an amazing person, a fantastic mother, I could never speak out though out of pure fear from how she’d react, she had a horrific tendency to randomly hit us for no reason or lash out and severely bruise us if we ever went against her. You see, I’ve now slandered my mother and step- father, but they left me bruised, broken and a shallow hole of the person I knew I could be.

There was a really cruel reality of how their actions affected me: at the age of 16 I had lost everything that was of importance to me – my younger brother and sister were taken away from my home, I was being subjected to horrendous abuse, I was severely depressed and my mum allowed the person who sexually abused me up till the age of 14 to come back into my life.

"I had planned my own suicide, I had written my goodbye note"

I resorted to using self-harm as my method of coping – when I did this, I just wanted to feel something, I wanted to know I was human, I wanted to know that although my emotions had become so numb through all that heartache I was still capable of feeling some physical pain. I had planned my own suicide, I had written my goodbye note and only the Lord knows how prepared I was to take my own life and finally be reunited with my dad. I was 16, hurting and in an incredibly vulnerable place. One day I was so besotted with grief that I sat at the top of a hill staring at the stars, after almost walking in front of a car earlier that day.

"I wanted to run, I wanted to leave and start life somewhere else, I wanted to put this world behind me, I wanted to die – I was so broken"

My body ached, my heart hurt and I couldn’t think clearly. My mind was in such a horrific mess, I was so ready to give up and end it all – all because my mother and step-father had knocked me down so far that I had no vision of my own self-worth. Here’s the thing, I had a school social worker to talk to, but how on earth was I supposed to talk to him when anything I said would bear repercussions on the behalf of my parents? I saw such little value in my life, and no one I could pour my heart out to.

"She couldn’t see the pain I was in, instead she wanted to punish me for harming myself"

One day, my mum saw my self-harm scars on my arm, she screamed at me and gripped my arm tight, she marched me into the living room to show my step-dad – she couldn’t see the pain I was in, instead she wanted to punish me for harming myself. Let me explain something, my mum liked people to give her sympathy and for people to believe her bullshit sob stories; but as soon as it came to her own children she couldn’t have cared less. She sadistically enjoyed our suffering.

I wanted to die, I really did, but I saved myself, I burnt my suicide note, I realised there were people in my life who depended on and needed me. In that moment I knew I had a real purpose to keep living and keep breathing, but I was still trapped in the dangerous cycle of abuse from my mum and step-dad.

I really enjoyed school, I enjoyed learning and I found school to be an escape route from the hell I was facing at home. Unfortunately, the social side of school was far from pleasant; I was heavily bullied and often came home crying. I was socially ostracised and had very few friends. But I used that all to focus on my grades, I used everything I had been through to shape my ideal future, I had to work to make sure I never ended being the kind of person my mother is.

In December 2013, I couldn’t take it anymore and I asked my (maternal) grandmother if I could move in with her, my grandmother is honestly so gentle, loving and a gift from the angels – I really have no idea how my mum turned out the way she did. My grandmother finally showed me what it’s like to feel safe, not to be hit till I’m screaming in pain and cowering in the corner covered in bruises. My nan helped me find myself, she helped me begin to see my self-worth, my nan pushed me to go to university, she pushed me to be me, if it wasn’t for my nan I would not be alive today, I would have given up and my mum would have won. I’ll forever be grateful to my nan for everything she’s done for me.

"My nan helped me find myself,

she helped me begin to see my self-worth"

Fast forwarding to today in 2018, I’m happier than I have ever been.

I cannot say I don’t have bad days or days where I would still like to end it all, because I still feel like that occasionally. Fortunately, I have a couple of people in my life who have dedicated their time to hear and respond to what I’m saying and how I’m feeling – or simply calming me out of a big crying lump of a mess without even being aware that they’ve helped, I’ll forever be grateful for those people.

I haven’t spoken to my mum for almost three years now, I continued contact with her until just before my 18th birthday – I stopped trying to reach her and she showed me she wasn’t interested by never reaching out to me again, she showed me what I didn’t mean to her. It’s very easy for me to sit here and relay everything I’ve been through and make it sound like the easiest thing in the world. I stepped away from my own mother, that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and something I am still severely judged for. She broke me and knocked all confidence out of me, but stepping away from that environment was incredibly hard and it took me a while to adapt to life without her. But, there is never a day I regret ceasing her position in my life; I have great friends – some I’ll eternally be grateful to for coming into my life, I’m in love with my best friend, I’m about to graduate with a law degree too and I have the best job in the world.

"To think, almost four years ago

I nearly gave all of that up"

Here’s my message to you, please don’t ever give up – life does get better, not straight away and some things become very hard to adapt to. I mean I can’t stand anyone touching me or being too close to me as it makes me very uncomfortable, it’s the innate fear that I’m about to be hit again. There’s some hurts that will never leave you, some that will make you ball your eyes out at night and some memories that will haunt your nightmares, but I promise you it will get better. I learnt to love myself after being told by my own mother that she regretted giving birth to me and knocked me down, I love myself now and no one will ever take that away from me. It’s okay to not love your parents, believe me it is. I can only sit here now and wonder what if I hadn’t left home, where would I be now? No matter what you’re going through, it gets better and easier to cope with.